The beautiful little Greek island of Santorini is known for its white, cubist houses of Fira and Oia, and its massive cliffs above an underwater caldera. The southern half of the island has long stretches of beaches made up of black, red and white lava.
The best time to visit Santorini is in the fall or spring, while the weather remains warm, but the number of tourists is limited.
Santorini Island Map
We took a ferry from Mykonos to Santorini for the day. We arrived in the new port (Athinios). From the port we took a bus that cost us €2/person for one way ticket to Fira.
Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral
Our first stop in Fira is the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral, just across the street from the bus station. This vast church has beautiful architecture.
In Fira we walked around the center of the city. It is a beautiful small area with only white houses and a great view of the caldera and the crater. You can also buy your souvenirs in Fira. The cheapest place to buy your souvenir is around the bus station.
We ate at an amazing gyro place named Obelix. They have great prices, amazing staff and delicious food. We were only in Fira for several hours and ended up eating there 3 times, it was that good!
If you go down 580 steps you get down to the old port where you can hire a donkey to get back up or down. We personally did not do it because we did not feel comfortable riding the donkey, who has been standing in the hot sun all day. If you do not feel like walking, there is also a cable car you can take up and down.
Hike from Fira to Oia
The hike from Fira to Oia is highly recommended. The three hour hike takes you between the city with many breathtaking views and several small villages. We would recommend doing this hike during the morning, before the sun gets too strong. You can hike from Fira to Oia in the morning, and enjoy the day in Oia. There you can also enjoy the sunset before taking a bus back to Fira, if you are sleeping there. We could not do it because of the time we had left in the island.
We took a bus for €1.80 from Fira to Oia. This is the famous small city that you always see with the blue church domes and the red cliffs. On the way there you can stop in Imerovigli, a small village where you will also find two large blue dome churches.
Caldera Square and Church Of Panagia Of Platsani
Once we arrived in Oia we went straight to the center of the city, a 5 minute walk from the bus station. There you will start seeing the traditional white buildings. The first stop is Caldera Square with a big Greek Orthodox Church Of Panagia Of Platsani with its classic blue dome.
From Caldera Square you turn right and walk down Nikolaou Nomikou Street. You will see a blue dome (another church) you need to turn left onto Lenas Alafouzou Street, walk down some rocky stairs and then boom the great view. At first you will have no idea where you are going but trust me you will get the postcard photo of the 3 blue domes. It is better to do it early morning or after sunset, when there are fewer people in the area.
Byzantine Castle Ruins
Then just walk around the small streets, enjoying the houses until you see the Byzantine Castle Ruins. From here you will get the best sunset and the best view of the Caldera and the village itself. Your view will be on the right with all the blue church domes and on the left you will see the white windmills and beautiful waters.
Before or after sunset go up the stairs towards the left to the beautiful Oia windmill. There are also many beautiful private houses in this area, making it worth wandering around the narrow roadways.
We took the bus back from Oia to Fira and then From Fira to the airport, it is the only way to get to the airport from Oia unless you have a car/bike/taxi.
Akotiri is in the south of the Island and here is where all the museums and many ancient archeological sites located.
The best beaches, known for their black volcanic sands are in the South West of the Island and they are Perivolos, Perissa and Kamari. You can take a bus to this beaches as well.
Important note: If you are getting a late night flight and it is after midnight, make sure you select the correct date. We had a flight with Rynair and we showed up nearly 24 hours after our flight actually left, along with a dozen other people.